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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Landowner Restores Playa in New Mexico

Waterfowl and shorebirds on playa lake.
Credit Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Eastern New Mexico rancher John Wood has playa-rehab success story.  John owns a 2,800-acre cow-calf operation about 40 miles north of Clovis. The land has a a 250-acre playa that was rehabbed with the help of The Nature Conservancy. Wood says he's now witnessing larger numbers of migrating birds, and thinks other wildlife have returned. This story originally aired on HPPR 12/25/12 as part of Playa Country's series on Playas. It repeated 3/19/13 as part two of the Landowner series.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

The Goose at the End of the Rainbow

Shamrocks, leprechauns, pots o’ gold make me think instantly of St. Patrick’s Day, a joyous spring celebration.  As a child, I was sure the old stories must be true and anyone lucky enough to stumble upon the rainbow’s end would find a leprechauns’ pot of gold. I was also certain that mortals rarely, if ever, find that arc’s end.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Run Black Drum Run!

Folks, I am here to tell you that right now is the time to head down to Galveston, Texas, to fish for Black Drum.  We are in the midst of the Black Drum run.  It typically starts mid February and runs through the middle of April.  My old buddy, Captain Mike Williams, is a veteran fishing guide off the Texas coast.  We have been fishing together for a long time.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Life is What You Paint It

Can you imagine living over 100 years and only having two regrets?  I can't.   It is one of the things that amazed me about Velma Wancura. 

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Playa Country episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Citizen Science: Bird Count

Credit audubon.org

The approach of Christmas foretells the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Biologists term the event "citizen science." It's an activity that allows laypeople to develop an interest in bird watching, and their efforts helping scientists conduct the census is invaluable - scientific organizations couldn't afford to pay for the vital data-collection performed by thousands of citizen scientists across the nation. This is the first in a four-part series on Land Owner stories. It originally aired on HPPR on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Brown Creeper Therapy

Brown-creeper

The months after Christmas until mid-to late March are the most difficult of the year in my opinion.  Spring and summer have always warmed my heart as well as my back as I bend over tomato plants in the garden or flowers in their beds. Over time, I have learned to love fall with all its color and pre-cold weather symphonies even though I know what comes next.  But winter—I struggle with.  It takes effort to celebrate long, colorless days.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Wingbone Player

Cleon P Carraway with His Wingbone Turkey Call

We've spent some time getting to know Cleon P. Carraway over the past couple weeks.  Today, I talked with Cleon about the first call he developed- the wingbone turkey call. 

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Lord's Candles

The desert yucca plan was designated as the state flower of New Mexico in 1927.  It was chosen by the school children of the state,  then recommended by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs.

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Harvest Public Media story
7:15 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Generic seeds could have a short lifespan

Potted soybean plants line the tables in a research greenhouse at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Researchers are trying to understand the ways different genes control plant growth.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The patent rights on the first genetically modified seeds expire next year, but it’s not clear how the introduction of “generic” seeds fits into the science and business of GM crops.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

A Leaf Should Know Its Tree

A Young Velma Whipple

I met Velma Whipple Wancura two years ago.  Her grandson, Dan Wancura contacted me, telling me I needed to meet his grandmother.  He said the story of her life was simply amazing.  He was right. 

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Playa Country episode
8:01 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Playa Renovation: Haynes Farm, Holyoke, CO

Holyoke, CO, farmer Larry Haynes talks about putting land "to its best use." For decades he attempted to farm playas in his fields but said he "rarely" was able to harvest crops grown in those wetlands. He decided to forget attempting to farm the playas and instead renovate them and plant large plant buffers around them, thus putting the playas "to their best use" as wildlife habitat. Biologist Jerry Miller drew up plans to renovate the playas and create plant buffers. As expensive as farming is today, Haynes says it makes no sense to pour expensive ag inputs into a mud hole. This the final episode in a four-part series on playa health. It originally aired on HPPR Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

When Nature Calls, Don't Answer

  Despite a flu shot and obsessive hand washing to avoid this season’s germ, it found me.  If folks tell you it’s bad, believe them.  If they add it lasts forever, it’s true.  After a week and a half indoors, struggling to overcome primary and secondary symptoms, cabin fever set in.  Climbing the walls had new meaning. I needed a dose of outdoor therapy to help me battle sniffles, coughs, and headaches left in the wake of this super virus.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Cleon P Carraway... Musician to Call Inventor

  Cleon P. Carraway loved music.   He also loved hunting.  Experiments fascinated him.  How could you combine those passions into an endeavor?  Cleon found a way.  The discovery and perfection of these interests has been a lifetime journey.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Oklahoma's Creative Compromise

Controversy over the icons of the state of Oklahoma were not limited to the state tree.  In 1893, fourteen years before statehood, Mistletoe was adopted as the territory's flower.  Although, tiny and short-lived, the evergreen leaves and glossy white berries made it a favorite of settlers.  The issue some folks couldn't seem to get around was that mistletoe is a parasite.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Location Location Location

Ask anyone in real estate how to choose property, and they'll tell you, "location, location, location."  The White and Kirk building in Amarillo sits at the crown jewel of locations- the intersection of Route 66 and Polk Street.

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Playa Health: The Importance of Buffers

Credit Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

Research indicates that a buffer surrounding a playa lake, consisting typically of native grasses and forbs, prevents migration of upland topsoil and farm chemicals into lowland wetlands such as playa lakes and rainwater basins. The buffers are important to rangeland playas, but are vital when playas are situated in fields under crop production. This story is part three of a four-part series on playa health. It originally aired on HPPR Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

Harvest Public Media story
6:26 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The seeds of genetic modification

The vast majority of the corn and soybeans in United States grow from seeds that have been genetically modified. The technology is barely 30 years old and the controversy surrounding it somewhat younger. But how did it even become possible?

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Cleon P Carraway... the Hog Whisperer

Cleon P Carraway in action with one of his calls.

  There is a great deal of information available on most aspects of wild hog hunting but the art of using calls to attract porkers within shooting range is one that is often skirted around, probably because of lack of factual information. Through the years, I’ve had very limited success using calls to attract hogs. The lion’s share of my failures I attribute to lack of skill on my part and possibly the fault of the calls I used to perfectly duplicate the sounds made by wild hogs.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
11:14 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ribbons of Birds

One of my favorite parts of wrapping presents is creating pretty designs with all kinds of ribbon.  The  paper corners may not be so sharp as one might wish, but I love using  scissors to stretch skinny little green or red Christmas trim into dangling sausage curls.  Somehow sparkly spools of foil, scissors, and tape bring out the creative in me, and I find myself making loop de loops and fleur de lis on my loved one’s gifts.  I’m not sure skill matches imagination, but I love playing with strands of fabric and paper.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Setting the Record Straight for Goldenrod

Goldenrod is a wallflower, standing in the background, while other flowers in the garden take center stage.  It has been blamed for watery eyes and runny noses, when in fact, the true cause of those allergy symptoms is probably ragweed which blooms at the same time.  Goldenrod has taken the heat for years for, but its  blame without substantiation.  It is a rare gardener to take up the cause of the Goldenrod, but I like this plant.  It has a place in my garden. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Where I Come From

Virginia Kerns Frantz was born near Granada, Colorado on February 28, 1924.  She remembers her childhood as a hand to mouth existence.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Great Plains, Small Town Hearts

Over a decade ago, I lucked into a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar titled  The Great Plains: Texas to Saskatchewan.  For five weeks,  Tom Isern  led 19 other teachers and I to read and analyze literary and historical texts, discuss conclusions, and visit iconic sites to better understand what it means to live on the plains.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

One Skillet Camp Breakfast

This breakfast is easy to make, and easy to clean up.  The only pan you need is a cast iron skillet. 

Here's what you do:

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

I'll Miss Fields of Gold

Sometime back I talked about our return to dryland farming.  One of the things I will miss with this change is being surrounded by fields of gold.  Some days, I would journey into the fields to be surrounded by eye-level orbs of sunlight.  I would stand quietly waiting for the sound of munchkins following the yellow brick road.  At the end of the growing season, I have been known to emerge with an arm full of heavy heads to hang in the evergreens to provide a feast for winter residents. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Making Lemonade

Let’s give the mailman something to laugh about and send one of those exaggerated postcards of giant insects or oversized rabbits.  You can find them at the Finney County Historical Museum, along with information on their creator, a photographer named Frank ‘Pop’ Conard who found a way to make lemons into lemonade during the dark days of the Great Depression.

2:27 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

New evidence and new doubts about In Cold Blood

Lead in text: 
Kansas Bureau of Investigation documents suggest that the events described in two crucial chapters of Truman Capote's "non-fiction novel", In Cold Blood, differ significantly from what actually happened. Writer Kevin Helliker explores this new evidence and other findings in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
GARDEN CITY, Kan.-Truman Capote's masterwork of murder, "In Cold Blood," cemented two reputations when first published almost five decades ago: his own, as a literary innovator, and detective Alvin Dewey Jr.'s as the most famous Kansas lawman since Wyatt Earp.
Harvest Public Media story
3:56 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Technology chips away at influence of prominent ag towns

Kansas City Board of Trade

 At the crossroads of industry, railroads and farm country Kansas City has long been a capital of the plains. In recent years, though, Kansas City and other agriculture hubs have seen technology chip away at their importance.

Since 1856, for instance, wheat has been traded on the floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade. In the old days, there would be a swarm of traders around the pits, shouting orders, making those crazy hand signals you've seen in the movies, but that will end later this summer.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

First Time Calling for Luke and Larry

Sometimes when Larry and I get together, our conversations head toward the past... and stories of our "firsts."  Larry's asking me about the first time I went out calling.  Here's my story:

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Life Cycles From Auction Buyer to Seller

All my married life, I’ve loved attending local auctions.  Part of the charm of these gatherings is seeing friends and neighbors and catching up with one another’s busy lives or listening to the auctioneer’s clever patter.  Another reason these events draw me  is the chance to see history and sometimes buy a little chunk of someone else’s story.  Unfortunately, there comes a time when those little pieces of other’s lives add up to enough stuff to clutter my closets to overflowing.  Before anything bursts, I need to take action.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Blue is the Sky, White the Snow, and Yellow the Gold

The Rocky Mountain Columbine was discovered by mountain climber, Edwin James,  ascending Pike's Peak in 1820.  It was officially names the state flower of Colorado in 1899.  Rocky Mountain columbine (Columbine Aquilegia Caerulea) is a beautiful flower with a rich aroma that attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to it's nectar.

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